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    A renewed sense of optimism for the movie business



    Poster for the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival is put up on the facade of the Palais des Festivals on the Croisette.  May 14, 2023.

    The 76th edition of the Cannes festival, running from May 16 to 27, will open in a more relaxed atmosphere, at least in terms of health, after the festival endured two years of restrictions (mandatory wearing of masks in 2021, reduced presence of foreign stars in 2022). Now the focus is firmly back on the movies, with the watchword being “boldness,” according to Festival Director Thierry Frémaux. For the poster of this 76th edition, he thing a photo of Catherine Deneuve, taken in 1968 on the set of The chamade by Alain Cavalier. And it is Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of the actress and Marcello Mastroianni, who will host the ceremony.

    The president of the jury, who will award the Palme d’Or on May 27, is none other than the Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund, who has already won it twice, for The Square in 2017 and Triangle of Sadness in 2022. In addition to the impressive official selection (there are various categories including the official competition, the “Un certain regard,” “Cannes Première,” and “Cannes Classics” sections, special screenings), there are the parallel sections, Filmmakers ‘ Fortnight (May 17-26), Critics’ Week (May 17-25) and the week dedicated to ACID, the association which promotes the distribution of independent films, from May 17-26.

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    Presented out of competition, Jeanne du Barry, by (and starring) Maïwenn, the actress and director who appears with Johnny Depp, will launch the cinematic celebrations on Tuesday, May 16. Twenty-one films are competing for the Palme d’Or, and seven of them are directed by women. Despite an effort to welcome new directors, the competition is rolling out its red carpet to a large number of “regulars” including Ken Loach, who has also won the Palme d’Or twice (The Old Oak), Nanni Moretti (A Brighter Tomorrow), Wes Anderson (Asteroid City) and Jessica Hausner (Club Zero), and so on. Among the newcomers, important mentions are Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania (Olfa’s Daughters), Karim Aïnouz, the Brazilian with Algerian heritage (fire brand), and the young Franco-Senegalese film-maker Ramata-Toulaye Sy, who arrives with his first feature film, Banel & Adama. Many first features will be unveiled in all sections this year, and one of them will receive the “Caméra d’or” prize, the jury for this is chaired by Anaïs Demoustier.

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    The 2023 edition is also marked by the return of the controversial Catherine Breillat, who will present on the festival’s last day her film Last Summer, the story of a lawyer (Léa Drucker) who jeopardizes her career by having an affair with her 17-year-old stepson (Samuel Kircher). In all, four French films (not counting co-productions) are competing for the Palme d’Or. Besides Last Summer, it’s worth mentioning Anatomy of a Fall, by Justine Triet, The Pot-au-Feuby Vietnamese-born Frenchman Tran Anh Hung, and Homecoming, by Catherine Corsini. This film was finally included after initially being put on hold, due to reports of sexual abuse that allegedly took place during the shooting.

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